How Important Was Benjamin Strong?

Megan McArdle asked recently whether the rape charges against IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn could have a negative impact on attempts to deal with the current economic crisis within the Eurozone.  In the process, she notes that an argument could be made that the absence of Benjamin Strong in the 1930's contributed to the inability of authorities … Continue reading How Important Was Benjamin Strong?

Yglesias on Friedman: Duty to Rent-Seek?

Matt Yglesias argues that Friedman's contention that a corporation's only duty is to maximize profits, not to pursue "social responsibility" projects, logically entails that businesses should also rent-seek: lobby government for special privileges to hamper their competitors, suppress wages, or augment their profits with subsidies. Certainly, if Friedman believed that literally the only moral duty … Continue reading Yglesias on Friedman: Duty to Rent-Seek?

Milton Friedman on JFK’s Speech

Many may have forgotten that Milton Friedman begins Capitalism and Freedom with a critique of President Kennedy's inaugural speech.  It is well-worth another look - so dig out your dusty and yellowed copy and read the introduction again.  The key line is this one: The free man will ask neither what his country can do for him nor what he can … Continue reading Milton Friedman on JFK’s Speech

Sunday Morning Quotation – Happy Birthday Milton Friedman

Yesterday was Milton Friedman's birthday - something celebrated around the country on Friday as organizations in approximately 43 states (and 5 other countries) held MF Day events.   In that spirit, here is Friedman in Playboy discussing the conundrum of what to do in the area of welfare given what the state has already done (I was going … Continue reading Sunday Morning Quotation – Happy Birthday Milton Friedman

Policy Differences Among Economists and “Disinterested Citizens”

Milton Friedman argued in 1953 (and again in 1967) that economic policy differences are rooted primarily in different views about the consequences of those policies -- and that these disagreements could largely be eliminated by better positive economics (!).  Specifically, he wrote: I venture the judgment, however, that currently in the Western world, and especially in the United States, … Continue reading Policy Differences Among Economists and “Disinterested Citizens”

Krugman on Friedman on the Depression

I just recently came across this profile of Milton Friedman by Paul Krugman in the February 15, 2007 New York Review of Books. Krugman pays homage to Friedman's research as a macroeconomist, including his and Schwartz's Monetary History of the United States, best known for its explanation of the Great Depression as a monetary phenomenon. … Continue reading Krugman on Friedman on the Depression